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Christani & Nielsen forced into administration

CHRISTANI & NIELSEN is expected to be sold whole or in parts by the end of the week after a cashflow crisis forced the contractor into administration.

Talks with interested bidders were taking place this week after administrator KPMG took control last Friday.

The administrators have dismissed all but 22 of the 250 plus staff and the contractor has effectively stopped trading.

A KPMG spokesman said: 'We are hopeful that we can sell the business as one entity but if we have to break the company up with parties taking on individual contracts so be it.

We've already had bidders in looking over figures.'

A source close to the contractor said the company had been crippled by £15M of long standing unpaid claims on the £50M immersed tube tunnel contract at Preveza in Greece and a road improvement scheme in South Wales.

The company made a loss of £1.13M in the first three months of this year. Last year it made an unaudited loss of £8M on turnover of £120M. The company recently replaced chief executive Alan Crane after he resigned in June (NCE 15 June).

Unpaid claims on the Preveza crossing were compounded by having to carry on paying local labour. KPMG's administrators Roger Oldfield and Allan Graham refused to comment on reasons for the cashflow crisis but a spokesman said: 'It's fair to say that the company overstretched itself.'

It was unclear this week how C&N construction projects like the £97M Tyne & Wear Metro extension and a £10M stand for Aston Villa Football Club, would be affected. KPMG confirmed that 'no suppliers or subcontractors will be paid by the company any more. From our point of view the company has stopped trading'.

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